The auto industry’s importance to the polypropylene (PP) market is growing all the time in Europe.
When announcing a study into adding the equivalent of a new PP plant in Europe, Borealis noted that growing demand for PP from car manufacturers will be a driver for new capacity investment down the road.
The introduction of polymer bank notes in the UK a month ago has brought BOPP film into the minds and wallets of big spenders up and down the country, but this is one small facet of an industry that anonymously features heavily in most people’s day-to-day lives.
Polymers and metals may compete for some automotive applications but the motor industry has been a strong driver of demand for both plastics and a range of metals over the past two years. And the good news is that the support will continue — volume growth bolstering steel, environmental legislation boosting polymers, while re-tooling and new power systems lift demand for some minor metals.
European polymer margins are at their highest level for years after a very strong start to 2015. But does this signify a renaissance or just a short-term fillip for an industry still beset by structural challenges?
The weak euro, steady demand growth and some supply interruptions have created a window of opportunity for producers to lift margins that for years have been below reinvestment levels.